SEO Titles, Using the Title Tag

Page titles are one of the most important parts of any web page, especially when performing search engine optimization. A page title is located at the very top of your browser’s window. It can bring traffic in abundance or completely isolate your site. Knowing how to properly word a page title is critical to your site’s SEO success. Let’s look at how page titles can be used to increase your site’s traffic. Snowflakes and Titles It is said no two snowflakes look exactly the same. Well, the same should be said for page titles on your site. Every page on your site should have a different focus from the other pages on your site, or you are repeating yourself and duplicating content. So if all your pages are telling a different story, shouldn’t they all have a different title? And that title should effectively reflect the content of the page. Missing an Opportunity In my daily web searches, I see many missed opportunities with poorly titled web pages. Pages simply named “Untitled” or “Untitled Document” can be found in the millions (79 million were found in a Google search). Search engines depend on titles to gather information about your web pages. And a page title without a unique description does not help the search engines – in fact, a generic page title makes the page nearly impossible to find… Putting Your Company Name in the Title Tag I’m not against putting your company name in your page title – after all, it will help build brand awareness. But, I am against putting only your company name in the title...

Underscores vs. Dashes

Update 6/10/09 – Video from Matt Cutts about the underscore vs. Dashes issue. Spaces should never be used in a URL or file names because the space character gets translated to “%20” by the browser, and this can wreak havoc with both readability and statistics or analytics programs. The question then remains, which is better to use instead of spaces, underscores “_” or dashes “-“. As far as Google is concerned Big_Oak consists of one word, “Big_Oak”, and Big-Oak consists of two words, “Big” and “Oak”. The reason Google does not treat the underscore as a word separator is because Google was created by programmers who knew that programmers often wanted to search about programming. Many computer programming languages use the underscore character in such ways that CLASS is different from _CLASS. Because of this, I always recommend using dashes instead of underscores in your filenames and URLs. Be careful not to use too many dashes in your domain name, as that could get your site flagged for other reasons. I prefer to have a domain name with no dashes, and to use dashes where appropriate in the directory and file structure. Example URL: http://www.bigoakinc.com/blog/category/52-seo-strategies/ Other things about Google to keep in mind when choosing filenames and URL structure. There is no difference between lower-case and upper-case: big oak, Big Oak, BIG OAK, and biG Oak are all the same. The ampersand “&” is a word seperator: Big&Oak is treated as two words. Singular words are not the same as plural words: oak and oaks are treated as different words. Google cannot read words that are within other words:...

Keep Fresh Content on Your Homepage

Adding fresh content to your site and your homepage is an often heard bit of advice from SEO consultants and advice columns. Yes, It is a good idea to keep your content up-to-date and fresh, but using information that isn’t pertinent to your site such as a weather feed or generalized information you can find on a host of other sites, it isn’t likely to draw much attention from the search engines. You need something more substantial and more on topic with your site. Look for content that speaks to your audience. For example, maybe you own an SEO company and adding new content to your home page looks like a good idea. Well, if you write a blog on a consistent basis then your own blog posts can become homepage content through an RSS feed. As a matter of fact we have implemented this very tactic today on our own home page. If you look at the Big Oak homepage you will see an area that is displaying an RSS feed of this blog (SEO Blog) with a snippet from the two most recent blog posts. Now we have content that will change whenever this SEO blog is updated and most of the time the posts will be on topic. The search engines will notice my home page changes frequently and visit more often and give our site a higher value because of this. If you aren’t an avid blogger, you can add content from other blogs or from search result and news feeds, but this can draw traffic from your site if your visitors follow links included...

Panoramio – Map Your Photos

Google will purchase Panoramio, a very cool site with interesting functionality. Not an SEO tool, but a tool for your life if you like taking photos on vacation. Of course since Google is going to buy it, that makes is somewhat SEO-worthy. Panoramio allows you to locate photos exactly over the place they were taken. You can read more about how this works. From Google: Panoramio is a community photos website that enables digital photographers to geo-locate, store and organize their photographs — and to view those photographs in Google Earth. Other users can search and browse Panoramio photos and suggest edits to the metadata associated with the photos. Panoramio also offers an API that enables web developers to embed Panoramio functionality into their websites. Your vacation photos will never be the...